Tuesday, July 7, 2015 Ty did not finish his breakfast, which is unusual for a dog with his background. Having never known when his next meal might come along, and if it would be enough to feed him and the other dogs in the yard, food is a precious commodity in his eyes. Skipping meals or leaving a tiny crumb behind is even once is serious enough in my eyes to investigate. I took heart he did ask for a treat though.
Going outside, he did the same thing he had done last night–heading straight for the fenced in area and bypassing the regular pee spot at the property line. He seemed off-center, though nothing I could put a definite finger on. In the end, returning inside, I pushed his bowl closer to him and assumed he would eat sooner or later. It took him over three hours to get around to finishing the remaining meal. (Glad it was dry kibble and not something that should not remain at room temperature)
Returning out before I left for work, we repeated our earlier pattern and he completed his business. I made him do a short ‘sit, wait’ at the porch before coming inside. While he still seems off somehow, I will just continue to monitor it. I wonder, has he finally figured out the food supply will not stop? If so, why does he still want the treats like they might run out? Or is this residual from the recent fireworks?
Sunday, July 12, 2015. I feel Ty and I have hit a bit of a holding pattern. We’ve experienced no setbacks and no milestones forward. I suppose, in retrospect, it has only been about a week, but to me it seems a long time with no motion forward or backward. Each day is pretty much the same for us.
I took to our Facebook group, asking them if they thought Ty was happy. They routinely see his photos and hear of our exploits. I appeal for advise when I end up scratching my head and they offer support when I want to cry is despair. So I asked them if they felt Ty was a happy collie. Deep down, I wanted to know if I was somehow failing him.
The consistent comments were he was adjusting to lots of changes in his life. Admittedly I had been busy with work lately and had not been showering him with any additional attention. He also has no other dog to engage with at home, like many of the collies do. He still ignores the alien cats so he is pretty much in his own little world save for our personal interactions. Agreeing he’d had plenty of changes in the last few months, I agreed it would be a time I would want to slow down and mentally settle into it all and be allowed to quietly adjust.
Since I don’t normally get quiet time to ruminate over changes in my life, I figure this holding pattern and normalcy for Ty is my gift to him.
Wednesday, July 15, 2015. I have come to realize a lot of Ty’s issue with his decision to stay in his cave is the slick floors. I think he would be more incline to explore if he wasn’t feeling like he were ice skating. So I will look around for some inexpensive throw rugs for him to use.
Saturday, July 18, 2015 Today Ty went to the bank with me. He does enjoy a good car ride. Parking in the shade, this was one of the first times I left him alone. Immediately he went into concerned mode. Not panic yet, but clearly concerned. He climbed as close to the front as he could get and stared anxiously to where I had gone.
(Yes, I was nearby, watching so he didn’t cause any harm to himself or damage to the car) He was puzzled why he was being left behind–this was something new. And I had to wonder if we’d finally bonded enough that he was watching for my return. It sure looked like it. I returned for a moment, though not opening the door, he calmed down. I lavished the praise on him but did not enter the car.
This was a test, something to be done in steps. So I left again, watching over my shoulder as this time I actually entered the bank. He remained watchful until my return. He was glad for my return though he ignored the bone I offered.
Our next stop was a drive through establishment and he was perfectly fine. He even finally ate the bone from the previous bank. And I found some rubber backed area rugs to use in the kitchen and adjoining rooms.
Wednesday, July 22, 2015 Today I tried something new. I went to the kitchen–Ty’s cave–for coffee. I sat down a few feet from him. He scooted back, recoiling from where he had been lying comfortably in front of the sink to smashing himself into the corner. Ears back, no eye contact, he began to drool and his respirations increased. Fearful, worried, anticipating and hopeful. I could sense a quiet desire buried under his obvious fear. I had the sense he would be both relieved and disappointed if I just up and left him then.
So I stayed about 5 or 7 minutes, offering treats and slowly shortening the distance he’d have to stretch for them until he was almost to my knee. No petting, just soft talk and treats. He offered no eye contact but he was so gentle as he took the treats–a sharp contrast to the scars on his face.
Two of the cats came in, looking for their share. I told him of how very wild they had once been and how tame and trusting they are today. Could he and I one day achieve that same level? Then I gave him one more treat and left.
Selfishly, I want to end his emotional cross pull of conflict. I want him to be normal–a dog who enjoys life. Yet I also know he will never be one hundred percent ‘normal’. But who is? Certainly not I. I shall give him the gift of time, and patience, love and respect. And regular food, clean water, safe place to live, walks, treats and fun time. Basics he’d been denied for his whole life. I will give him a purpose, and someone to share it with.
Already I see my travels with Ty will be like none other.